Best Things to Do When Visiting Austin This Summer

Best Things to Do When Visiting Austin This Summer
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Although the COVID-19 pandemic has put a lot of Austin festivals and music events “on hold,” there’s good news on the horizon. Officials say regulations are being eased for special events permits, and event organizers will be receiving regular progress updates, every month. As Development Services Director Denise Lucas said, “These updates get us one step closer to getting back to 100% normal, and as long as conditions continue to improve, we look forward to the day when they can sunset completely.”

Summer Highlights and Austin Attractions

Here are some special events and recreational activities worth penciling in on your summer calendar:

  • July 4th festivities include an Independence Day celebration at the Hill Country Galleria. It will feature a lineup of live music, more than 75 vendors, rides for the kids, food, and a spectacular fireworks display.
  • Elsewhere in town, there will be a concert by the Austin Symphony, followed by fireworks over picturesque Lady Bird Lake.
  • Musical theater: From July 9th to August 14th, visitors can also enjoy outdoor performances of the off-beat musical, “Little Shop of Horrors.” Presented Thursdays through Sundays at the Hill Country Galleria Pavilion, the 2021 Zilker Summer musical shows begin at 8:15 p.m.

Not only will there be more scheduled events to look forward to in coming weeks, but there is also a wide selection of ongoing activities and interesting places to explore in the Austin area. Here is a sampling:

  • Austin Zoo: This attraction offers an opportunity to get outdoors, enjoy Austin’s beautiful Hill Country, and get a close look at 350 rescued animals from around the world. The zoo’s train ride is a family favorite, too! While you are in the Hill Country, there are also many other places to explore, including state parks, hiking trails, picnic areas, and wineries.
  • Zilker Metropolitan Park: In addition to its picnic facilities, a spring-fed swimming pool, and large playground for kids, this 361-acre park in downtown Austin offers everything from bike and canoe rentals to a disc golf course.
  • Bat Watching: While this may sound like an unusual pastime, you haven’t truly experienced Austin until you’ve witnessed the nightly flight of thousands of Mexican free-tailed bats from underneath the Congress Avenue Bridge. It’s an ongoing summer event that attracts throngs of Austinites, tourists, and riverboat passengers to the bridge. The summerlong event has proven to be so popular, that it spawned an annual Austin Bat Fest, scheduled for the end of the summer: August 28, 2021.
  • South Congress AvenueWhile you’re in the neighborhood of South Congress Avenue and Lady Bird Lake, you might also want to check out the many restaurants, boutiques, bars, and live music performances in the area.
  • The Picnic: Billed as “Austin’s Premier Food Trailer Park,” The Picnic offers a variety of delicious food choices ranging from Tai and Italian fare to kababs, ice cream, and desserts.
  • Museums: Austin is home to literally dozens of worthwhile museums, including art galleries, science museums for children, sculpture gardens, the Austin History Center, the Mexic-Arte Museum, and the quirky Cathedral of Junk. Other notable museums include the Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas and the Bullock Texas State History Museum. For those who can identify with Austin’s unofficial slogan “Keep Austin Weird,” consider visiting The Museum of the Weird! It’s sure to be a hit with the kids, and a lot of adults get a charge out of it, too!

Although this list represents just a slice of the many activities available to visitors and residents, we hope it gets you started on planning a memorable stay in Austin. We may be known as “The Live Music Capital of the World,” but, as you will discover, there is much more to experience than great music!

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